Palace: Trillanes amnesty ‘void ab initio,’ was never in effect

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DAVAO CITY (September 5)  – The amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was never in effect because it is ‘void ab initio’ or was not valid from the very beginning, Malacañang asserted on Tuesday, September 4.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. conducted a press briefing on the sidelines of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s official visit here to discuss Proclamation No. 572, which the President recently signed.

The proclamation declared the senator’s amnesty as “void ab initio.” Roque for his part said the decision to revoke the amnesty was solely “based on law and on facts.”

He said the amnesty was never in effect because Trillanes never complied with the requirements to qualify for it in relation to his involvement in the Oakwood mutiny and the Manila Peninsula siege.

These include personally filing an Official Amnesty Application Form with the Department of National Defense (DND) and expressly admitting guilt for the crimes committed.

“We are not undoing; it never was effective, kasi hindi naman niya kinomply ‘yung mga requirements, ‘yun po ang ibig sabihin ng ‘void ab initio.’ There is nothing to undo, because hindi naman siya naging valid from the very beginning,” Roque stressed.

“The past finally caught up with Senator Trillanes. He is responsible for his current state,” he added.

The Cabinet official said there was nothing political about the President’s proclamation, adding that the Chief Executive was merely exercising his obligation to implement the law.

According to the proclamation, Trillanes had not in fact applied for amnesty, and there were also no records of him admitting guilt.

“It is void ab initio dahil unang una, hindi po nag-apply ng amnesty itong si Senator Trillanes. At pangalawa po, hindi po siya umamin sa pagkakasala,” Roque stated.

“In the first place, he did not ask for the amnesty; it was given to him in a silver platter by the previous administration. So when you did not ask for amnesty, you are not entitled to it. When you did not admit to your guilt – which is a precondition for amnesty – then you are not entitled to amnesty. So what’s there to be heard? Amnesty is not a matter of right; it’s an act of beneficence. It’s an act of generosity on behalf of the Executive,” he added.

On this note, Roque stated that all criminal and administrative charges will be pursued against the senator.

He said Trillanes would be allowed to have his day in court to prove his innocence as well as to challenge the President’s revocation of his amnesty.

“Sa ngayon po ang Proclamation ay laban lamang kay Senator Trillanes, at ang epekto nga sang-ayon dito sa Proclamation 572 mismo ay mabubuhay ang lahat ng mga kasong nakabinbin laban kay Senator Trillanes,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the executive branch will be reviewing records of other individuals involved to determine if any of them had also failed to comply with the preconditions set for amnesty, Roque underscored.-jap/NewsLine

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